Coping with anxiety can be difficult, time-consuming, and draining. Such a complex disorder would require complex coping techniques. Although people can have a set of coping mechanism that work best for them, it is important to understand that there are infinite amounts of tools to assist coping.
Dealing with anxiety whether mild or severe, requires vast variety of approaches for effective results. Even though the list of coping skills may far exceed 10, a condensed list of 10 coping skills for anxiety is a good reference when needing to utilize the most effective techniques.
Content from a big list can easily be forgotten as all the information may be overwhelming. So we are breaking down the best tools for dealing with anxiety, detailed yet simplified.
- Avoid Triggers
- Organize yourself
- Get grounded, be mindful
- Partake in enjoyable hobbies/activities
- Talk to someone
- Focus on what you can control
- Eat healthy
- Get outside
- Seek help
Coping Skills breakdown
It is known that exercise yields many beneficial results. Physical activity can aid in numerous physical, emotional, and psychological triumphs. Regular daily exercise can demonstrate tremendous results from looking good, decreasing risk of disease, gaining strength and endurance, happier life and overall mood.
The reason behind exercise boosting mood comes down to science. Physical activity that increases the heart rate utilizes stored fats, sugars, and calories that may be bringing you anxiety and lowering mood.
They are used as energy in order to get you through workouts and, they are what sustain a body’s function. Overindulgence of these components thus can have poor outcomes as well such as depression, irritability, anxiety and lack of focus. After all, there is a reason people say you are what you eat.
Physical activity also relieves anxiety symptoms by naturally releasing endorphins, hormones that help eliminate pain and stress. Regular exercise would increase these feel good hormones and naturally give you a boost.
Regular and consistent exercise can be as effective as medication if anxiety is managed early on. This is what pushes most people that are really into fitness to continue working out, it just makes them feel good.
2. Avoid triggers
Explore the things that are making you anxious. Are these things temporary like an important test coming up? or has it been reoccurring and long term? could it be simple triggers like coffee or too much sugar? Lack of rest and sleep? take a moment to sit down and think about what is the root of the anxiety. There is always a root cause resulting in our mood.
When triggers are identified, seek ways to help reduce them. Jot down things that will help you avoid triggers.
If it is something as simple as too much coffee, maybe it’s time to cut down? If the triggers are more complex and cannot be avoided, think about what you can do to reduce their effects. If the same methods for dealing with these triggers has not worked thus far, it may be time to formulate a new tactic.
3. Organize yourself
much of the anxiety you are feeling can be controlled and decreased with organization. When dealing with a tough situation, it is the idea of not knowing what steps to take next, or what the results may be, that brings about anxiety. That anxiety can make us feel lost and uncertain of ourselves.
It can also make us handle the anxiety with poor coping mechanisms such as procrastination. The goal with procrastination is to avoid the unpleasant feeling, situation, and task that is now in front of us. However, life is not only about fun and games, unpleasant situations happen as life goes on.
When there is a situation causing anxiety, organizing yourself can put you on the right track. When faced with the problem, sit down and make a daily plan and schedule. Sometimes the problem cannot be handled overnight and would need time.
See what you can do every day to reach the goal you set out for yourself. When there is a plan in place, your mind is then set out to follow this plan and resolve the issue. Rather than being scattered with negative thoughts and what-if case scenarios, organize your daily tasks.
4. Get grounded
Be mindful of your anxiety and your feelings. Accept your feelings and validate them but, don’t dwell in that anxious state of mind.
Understand that the anxiety is there and what has triggered it and what is continuing it. Realize that you cannot ignore it, it is there and it is affecting you in some way or another. Do not try to just ignore it in hopes that it will go away on its own.
Once you accept it for what it is, only then can you focus on grounding. Refocus your mind on the good. Grounding is a tool to help positive thoughts back into your mind. When grounding, you look at the factors that are working for you and are going well.
It is being in the absolute present and appreciating the small things in life that you are forgetting when you worry. The things you can see, touch, feel, taste, and smell that give you a good sensation and make you feel happy.
Maybe seeing your dog and observing his happy little face, and petting his soft coat, can bring positive affirmations to get you through the day.
Mindful meditation is key in staying true ground and decluttering your mind. There are many different forms of meditation including movement and with food. However, each form helps you be present to really experience what is in front of you and validate your feelings
5. Partake in enjoyable hobbies/activities
Do what feeds your soul. Taking time to do activities that make us happy and relaxed will help the brain stay focused and healthy.
It cannot be all work and no play right? Sometimes your brain needs an off switch and having some fun with activities you are comfortable with and don’t have to use too much brain power could be just the solution.
How much can you sit there and think about negative thoughts? Consistent worry will just put you in a downward spiral. Take a break and have some fun. It can even open up your mind and give you a break through when you least expect it.
Sometimes trying to come up with solutions when you’re constantly thinking about it will leave you stuck and not progressing. Even when your in school and studying you need to take breaks in order to refocus.
Activities don’t necessarily have to be ones that you know how to do. Sometimes it’s fun to try something new that you have been interested in and can challenge you.
6. Talk to someone
Whether about your feelings or just to talk, make plans with people who uplift you. Humans are social by nature and thrive in good relationships and human contact. It was inevitable for social media to eventually grow to the point that it did as people crave interactions and connection more and more.
Talking to someone helps you see different perspectives and makes you feel cared for. It helps to know someone is genuinely concerned for your well-being.
Catching up with family and friends can get you thinking about other things besides the things that are stressing you out. Engaging conversations can get your mind thinking, and sharing a few laughs is always good. Laughter is the best medicine after all.
7. Focus on what you can control
Focus on those things that you can control and, appreciate the positive things you have going on in your life at the moment. Even when it feels like nothing is right and everything is terrible, remember you are alive and breathing, you have lived to see another day and you survived.
If you can pass through some of the toughest situations in your life thus far, who is to say you cannot handle another one.
Formulate an effective plan to overcome barriers. You simply need to focus one thing at a time. It might be hard with anxiety as you could have so many questions and negative thoughts racing around in you head, but taking it one step at a time would give you better results.
If lack of money and debt is causing so much anxiety, know that debt takes time to overcome. Therefore, you must see what you can do to help the situation instead. Could you get overtime hours? perhaps work on one debt, one with most interest before tackling another. Solutions appear when you buckle down and focus.
8. Eat Healthy
It may sound crazy to think of eating healthy as a coping skill for anxiety but it is very much helpful. Just like with exercise where it is scientifically proven that exercise reduces stress and anxiety, so is a good diet. Certain foods can trigger anxiety and or worsen it.
Coffee and caffeine in general is a common daily beverage that is drank by many, but also increases heart rate. It can give you similar symptoms of anxiety such as tremors and palpitations, as its main purpose is to increase alertness and boost energy.
Sugar increases energy as well temporarily and increases dopamine when consumed however, overdoing it can bring about uneasy feelings and bring your mood completely down once the sugar high has surpassed.
Like wise, there are many good healthy and nutritious foods and supplements that can be taken that help reduce anxiety. A popular one for example is chamomile tea, It is known that chamomile helps you to relax.
Perhaps your anxiety is increased due to lack of important nutrients. Low b complex vitamin levels for instance can bring about irritability and anxiety.
Going to your family doctor and getting regular check ups and blood work taken is important. Sometimes balancing out your vitamins and minerals can do just the trick.
9. Get outside
Being outside and one with nature is one of the greatest feelings in life. There is so much joy to human kind in the simple things like beautiful flowers and lush greenery. Warm breeze and sun rays along with crisp air.
Connecting with mother nature simplifies things and puts thoughts into perspective. It gives us something productive to do rather than mope and stress and it doesn’t have to cost you a dime.
With so much technology constantly in your face as you sit at home watching TV, online videos, scroll through your social media, there is ongoing time-wasting and information overload. Your mind needs a break and some simplicity in it as well.
Because your mind does not have an off switch, getting out in nature helps ease your mind from too many thoughts and is one of the closest things to an off switch if it existed. This also helps you practice mindfulness and grounding.
10. Seek help
If all else fails and natural ways to deal with anxiety are not working in your favor, professional help is always available.
There is no judgment when seeking professional help from a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. These are professionals dedicated to helping people in a time of need and are not there to judge.
Professional help can guide you in more effective methods and practices as well as medication treatments if need be.
It is not always about medication with a professional, they have a good background and understand about the human mind and can do many therapies with you such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for instance.
Coping is possible
Coping is possible and recovery is possible. you are never a lost cause, you just haven’t found your solutions yet to help you cope, and an appropriate skill set to help manage your anxiety.
At times, it’s the doubt that a method would work or, that there really are solutions that work to help us over come anxiety, that prevents us from coping.
Sometimes its easier to continue to just live with our worries and fears because we don’t want other people to know we might be suffering.
Accepting faults and taking the step to change is always hard. Sometimes, it is too painful and/or unpleasant to tackle the problem and the only solution you can think of is avoiding the problem all together.
However, the problem eventually grows with every worry and negative thought you feed it. At some point enough becomes enough. When that time comes, that is when you will evidently look for solutions and coping skills such as these listed.